Monday, June 18, may have been Gary Fairchild's official first day as new Evadale ISD superintendent, but it is far from a typical "first day".
"It's been a long road to get here with a lot of stops along the way, but I am thrilled," he said.
The Evadale Independent School District board of trustees hired Fairchild on June 18 but Fairchild has been working steadily during the previous 21 day waiting period for the final decision to be handed down.
A new principal was needed and Fairchild had his final recommendation on the same night that his hiring was finalized.
Fairchild's "long road" began after he graduated from Lamar with a degree in kinesiology and special education and immediately started teaching in Hemphill. While in Hemphill, he found out that he could obtain his masters degree from Stephen F. Austin University, which he says "was too close to pass up."
After obtaining his masters, Fairchild left Hemphill and moved to Kirbyville to teach special education, and while teaching there he learned that he could still yet advance by getting his Superintendent's Certificate by taking all required classes in nearby Jasper.
Fairchild pushed on and received his Superintendent's Certificate from Stephen F. Austin in 2000. After receiving his certificate, Fairchild was called to Silsbee Middle School to fill a assistant principal position for one year then was asked to come to Newton to be a Principal at Newton High School for the 2001-02 school year.
The next stop along Fairchild's journey would be Fred Elementary. and Warren Elementary. Both schools were in need of a principal, and Fairchild was able to fill both positions during the same time.
"That was a great experience, I learned so much while at those two schools," he said.
Fairchild stayed at Fred and Warren Elementary for two years and his career took him back to Kirbyville where he would serve as the junior high principal and eventually was called to be the Assistant Superintendent under Richard Hazelwood, someone Fairchild calls mentor.
"I learned so much and gained so much experience while under Mr. Hazelwood," said Fairchild. "I am so grateful to have been able to have gained all the experience that I have."
When Fairchild learned that Superintendent Brenda McDaniel was retiring he saw an opportunity that he could not pass up. Fairchild applied, went through the due process and was named Evadale's Superintendent.
Fairchild's unique perspective is that he has experience with all levels of education. He has taught Pre-K through 12th grade, including special education and homebound services where he visited and worked with students who have disabilities that inhibit them from attending school in the conventional setting.
Fairchild has several goals that he is working toward but they all involve one word, improvement.
"Evadale is a great district and we are getting things in place staff wise, hiring teachers and making moves and changes that will improve education for everyone," he added. "It is hard to do with all the state budget constraints that we face as a small district."
One of those constraints is the fact that smaller districts cannot offer huge sign on bonuses and pay-scales much above state guidelines like a larger district such as Dallas or Houston.
"I can tell a possible candidate that we have a great community and wonderful people but it is still a lot to compete with."
Still with all the competition from larger districts, Fairchild holds steady with his goals of improvement and they will be reached.
"We are in a kid business," says Fairchild. "That needs to be the center of all decisions made because the child is ultimately the one who will feel the consequence of the errors we may make with the wrong decision."
With teaching and education being such a passion, Fairchild says family is his driving force and inspiration behind that passion. Wife Stacie is also a kindergarten teacher and children Zach, 15, Addesyn, 4 and Graesyn, 19 months round out the family.
Family plays a huge roll in Fairchild's life and he tries to spend as much time as possible with them. Fairchild enjoys hunting and fishing with his son and is very involved with his church and community organizations.
"I try to utilize all that I can to make me a better educator," says Fairchild. "Hopefully with time and perseverance we will get to that next level here at Evadale ISD and I am looking forward to the journey."